National News

The social housing green paper published

The press release states that it aims to rebalance the relationship between residents and landlords, tackle stigma and ensure that social housing can be both a stable base that supports people when they need it and support social mobility.

Residents across the country were asked for their views on social housing; almost 1,000 tenants shared their views with ministers at 14 events across the country, with over 7,000 submitting their opinions, issues and concerns online.

The consultation launched today, with this green paper gives everyone the opportunity to submit views on proposals for the future of social housing and will run until 6 November 2018.

The green paper sets out 5 core themes:

  • Tackling stigma and celebrating thriving communities
  • Expanding supply and supporting home ownership
  • Effective resolution of complaints
  • Empowering residents and strengthening the regulator
  • Ensuring homes are safe and decent

To read the full press release go to the Government website

To read the green paper as an online pdf click here

Sustainable county social care: a green paper that delivers a new deal for counties

This report sets out the County Councils Network’s policy positions on adult social care, ahead of the forthcoming government Green Paper.

It supports the government’s plan to introduce a cap on the costs of care, but warns that it must be fully funded otherwise it will inadvertently push services, care providers and councils closer to breaking point.

The paper also argues that if the government’s reform agenda is to be successful, then social care must remain a local service and ministers should ‘not be swayed’ by overly simplistic arguments to combine all, or elements of, social care into the NHS.

You can learn more, and download the report here

Local action on health inequalities: understanding and reducing ethnic inequalities in health

This report from Public Health England provides:

  • a summary of information and data by ethnic group in England
  • examples of practical approaches to address ethnic inequalities in health
  • case studies of local action to address ethnic health inequalities

A blog on local action on ethnic health inequalities accompanies this report.

To read the report go to the Government website

New Rough Sleeping Strategy and Funding announced

Up to 6,000 vulnerable people could receive rapid specialist assessments and support under new measures in the government’s rough sleeping strategy.

Backed by £100 million of funding, some of it new, but over half from ‘re-prioritising’ existing homelessness and rough sleeping budgets, the strategy sets out the next steps towards achieving the aim of supporting everyone off the streets and into a home, and to end rough sleeping entirely by 2027.

The strategy was developed across government and in conjunction with the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel  which includes seven homelessness charities – Crisis, Homeless Link, National Housing Federation, Shelter, St Basils, St Mungo’s and Thames Reach. The charities, who advised ministers on the strategy said in a joint statement that it was “a significant step towards the government’s goal of ending rough sleeping by 2027”.

However, they added that ministers “must also set out bold, cross-departmental plans to tackle the root causes of all forms of homelessness and prevent it from happening in the first place”. You can read the full statement here

You can read a statement from Shelter here

The strategy sets out a three-pillared approach:

  • Prevention – understanding the issues that lead to rough sleeping and providing timely support for those at risk
  • Intervention – helping those already sleeping rough with swift support tailored to their individual circumstances
  • Recovery – supporting people in finding a new home and rebuilding their lives.

To read the strategy go to the Government website

Plans for £165m of dormant assets funding

From Civil Society

The government has announced it will unlock £20m of new money from dormant charitable trusts, to be given out in the sector, in today’s civil society strategy.

The strategy also includes plans to establish two new institutions to give away £145m of money from dormant bank accounts. That money will be spent on youth services and financial inclusion. It was originally announced last year, but the government has now provided more details on how it will be spent.

But there is no clarity about a much larger pool of money from dormant assets such as stocks, insurance and pensions, which is estimated to be worth £2bn, and is earmarked to be spent in the sector.

To read the rest of the article go to Civil Society

Children and young people’s mental health: focus group research

The Department of Health and Social Care funded Youth Access, Young Minds and the National Children’s Bureau to carry out a series of focus groups to further understand the views of young people, parents and carers, and professionals.

The research was carried out as part of the 13-week consultation ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper’, which ran from 4 December 2017 to 2 March 2018

The reports from these focus groups are now available on the Government website

Arts Council told new strategy must focus on communication and diversity

From Civil Society

A new strategy for the Arts Council should include diversity, communication, localism and digital technology among its key themes, the funder has been told.

The Arts Council, which published its annual accounts last week, has also recently revealed the results of its consultation on a new strategy, which invited individuals and organisations, including many arts charities, to set their priorities for the sector.

Respondents said that at present, the role of museums, libraries and arts bodies was underplayed, and more needed to be done to communicate their relevance.

The consultation also heard that arts charities and other bodies do not have a good enough record on diversity, particularly with regard to social background, but also with regard to ethnicity, gender and location.

Respondents wanted to see arts and culture which is tailored to local areas, and felt there was a difficult tension between the need to make arts available digitally but not lose the importance of physical spaces.

Many felt it was important to have “art for art’s sake” which did nothing but make people happy, as well as art which delivered public benefit by ameliorating disadvantage.

The Arts Council was also told it needed to be not just a funder, but also an advocate for the arts sector.

To read the rest of the article go to the Civil Society website

There is also a useful analysis of the strategy here from the NCVO

Government publishes Civil Society Strategy

The government has published its Civil Society Strategy today, promising that it will “build stronger communities by bringing together businesses, charities and the public sector”.  Key announcements include plans to unlock £20m from dormant charitable accounts and distribute it to community trusts and commitments to support corporate social responsibility, improve the take-up of the Social Value Act, and renewed commitments to grants and the principles of the Compact.

Plans for a strategy were announced in November 2017 and consultation took place earlier this year.

To read the strategy go to the Government website

Inclusion health audit tool

This online tool from the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance hopes to help organisations to audit engagement with groups identified as experiencing the worst health inequalities in the UK. It aims to provide a tailored guide to help embed action on tackling health inequalities into everyday activities.

For more information go to the Alliance website

CQC tells local services to work more closely and use VCSE organisations

The CQC end of programme report ‘Beyond Barriers’ brings together all the learning from 20 geographical local system reviews of how older people move through the health and social care system.

It found that services need to look at working much closer together in order to improve people’s experiences.

Voluntary, community, and social enterprise (VCSE) sector organisations are under-used in the planning and delivery of services.

Commissioning is critical in this planning, and yet the CQC saw that commissioning was often focused on individual services rather than the whole system.

Can you learn from the case studies included within the report?

Is a similar organisation to your own doing something you could replicate?

Can you use the report to have a conversation with partners, especially commissioners, in your own local system, about how can they involve the VCSE better in planning services?

Download the CQC toolkit here to get started.